Etidronate (By mouth)


Etidronate (e-ti-DROE-nate)
Treats the symptoms of Paget's disease and controls abnormal bone formation in people recovering from hip surgery or spinal cord injury.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.


When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to etidronate, or if you have you have esophagus (the tube that runs from your throat to your stomach) problems, trouble swallowing, or a bone problem called osteomalacia (soft bones).

How to Use This Medicine

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • It is best to take this medicine on an empty stomach. Take this medicine with a full glass (6 to 8 ounces) of water at least 2 hours before or 2 hours after eating.
  • Do not lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking this medicine, and do not lie down until after you have eaten some food.
  • If this medicine upsets your stomach, ask your doctor if you can take two smaller doses instead of one larger dose. Do not change without talking to your doctor, though.
  • Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about any special diet. It is especially important that you get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet.
  • For treating Paget's disease, you may need to take this medicine for up to 6 months. Then after 90 days of not taking the medicine, your doctor may want you to start another course of treatment.
  • If you have Paget's disease, this medicine may work slowly, so you may not feel better until you have been using it for awhile. Do not stop taking it without talking to your doctor first. Your body may continue to respond to this medicine for several months after you stop using it.
If a dose is missed:
  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®), antacids (such as Tums®), or vitamin supplements. The minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, and aluminum that are found in some antacids and supplements can keep this medicine from working properly.
  • Do not drink milk or eat dairy products or other foods that are high in calcium within 2 hours before or after taking this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, asthma, heartburn, ulcers, stomach or bowel problems, or any other kind of digestive problems.
  • Tell your doctor if you have anemia, blood clotting problems, cancer, infection of any kind, any type of mineral imbalance, poor oral hygiene, or dental problems.
  • This medicine can irritate your esophagus. If you think this medicine has started to damage your esophagus, stop taking this medicine and call your doctor. Some symptoms of damage to the esophagus are heartburn (either new or worse than usual), pain when swallowing, pain in the center of your chest, trouble swallowing, or feeling that food gets stuck on the way to your stomach.
  • It is important that you tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medicine. If you are having dental procedures done, you may have an increased chance of getting a severe problem of your jaw.
  • Make sure you tell your doctor about any new medical problems, especially with your teeth or jaws. Tell your doctor if you have severe bone, joint, or muscle pain while using this medicine.
  • A small number of people who have Paget's disease may have new or increased bone pain when they first start using this medicine. If your symptoms get worse, call your doctor.
  • If you break a bone, talk to the doctor who prescribed this medicine for you. You may need to stop using this medicine for a short time until the bone begins to heal.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Heavy jaw feeling.
  • Loosening of a tooth.
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet.
  • Pain, swelling, or numbness in the mouth or jaw.
  • Rapid weight gain, swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet, loss of appetite, or puffy eyelids.
  • Severe bone, joint, or muscle pain.
  • Severe vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea.
  • Trouble swallowing or pain when swallowing.
  • Worsening bone pain or onset of new bone pain.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
  • Mild bone, muscle, or joint pain.
  • Mild diarrhea or nausea.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
Adam Data Copyright The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only--they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

For information 410.787.4000

© 2015 UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center.  All rights reserved.

301 Hospital Drive, Glen Burnie, MD 21061 | 410-787-4000 | TTY 410-787-4498